Applying lessons from ‘World Class’ organisations to Healthcare

22 Feb 2019

“World class” organisations in different sectors have certain characteristics that clearly contribute to their sustained leading position. However, by looking at each of these organisations, it is also clear that there is no “one system” for all sectors that can be lifted directly into healthcare.

For example, while many Toyota methods can be applied to healthcare, no Toyota customer experiences the whole pathway that constitutes their system. A Toyota customer does not sit in the shell of a car as it starts down the production line and arrive with it in the showroom, but a patient will enter at primary or urgent care and can experience a whole range of services.

Elements from the models of “world class” organisations in other sectors can be applied to healthcare and adapted to develop an appropriate methodology and approach for healthcare setting to optimise a single health system.

All these “world class” organisations have some common characteristics:

  • the individual process or pathway is designed around their customer (not to fit the restrictions of their current process);
  • there is a centralised planning function (focusing on short, medium and long-term goals);
  • an overarching control function exists that manages the day-to-day processes centrally through real time data and pre-determined decision making;
  • everything is underpinned by an operating system that governs how the daily work is done.

Much of what distinguishes “world class” organisations from their peers within a sector is imperceptible to their customers. This “invisible glue” is the processes, standards and systems that support the customer experience and allows them to focus on what they define as value and really stand out.

For Toyota the “invisible glue” is the Toyota Way (behaviours) and the Toyota Production System (how to carry out the daily work), but for other “world class” organisations, the “invisible glue” is something different.

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